Down at the Laundromat

In most any New York City laundromat there is drop off service.  You drop off your bag-o-dirties, come back later in the day to a bag-o-freshies.  It has ALWAYS amazed me that the employees at the laundromat could fold anything into a perfect little square for these drop-off people.


Even a fitted sheet.

I've seen it!  It's amazing!

So, they fold everything into this perfect little tower of squares, then precisely stack it into the bag to form a perfect square or rectangle in the bag.  It's mind-blowing.  I haven't a clue how they do it.  I've tried and tried.

Today I was in the laundromat and I saw one of the women that work there doing her own laundry.....and much to my delight, she was NOT folding everything perfectly!  Her bag of folded clothes looked like a lumpy tower, like a normal persons.  Like mine.  I even saw her fold a rug and it wasn't precise.

It totally made my day.

And with that, I gave up trying to get perfect squares and simply stuffed everything into the bag.  We hang up almost everything anyway - what's the point of folding to carry the bag for 2 blocks?!  It felt good.  Gone are my days of attempting to make perfect squares.  Hello stuff & go!

Christmas in NY

To cure your Grinch tendencies, here's a bit of Christmas in the city.
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FAO Schwartz
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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Referring to the above pic, we asked a guy who was toting around a huge SLR (thinking he would be competent with our little one), turns out that not everyone with a huge camera knows what they are doing :-)

If you want to see all the pictures from our outing that evening, view our slideshow.


Taco Truck

Before we moved to Astoria I read numerous message boards about living in New York City, raising kids in NYC, and Astoria in general.  On the Astorians.com message board I read many, many rave reviews and reports of the "Taco Truck".

Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like.

A truck that sells tacos out of the side of it.  If you've been to NYC, you'll have an idea of what it looks like.  Street meat is a normal choice of goods around here.

At one point this summer the said Taco Truck disappeared off the streets sending hundreds of Astorians into a panic - and even causing a local food blogger to blog about "Taco Truck Alternatives".  It turns out the owners permit for selling food on the street had expired and had to renew it - they were not gone forever, much to the relief of the local community.

I knew this type of eatery would be right up Joe's alley (and mine!), so I told him all about it and we even had Henry talking about the Taco Truck before we moved here.  We were ready to experience the goods!

However, no matter how much we spoke about it - we never made it down to the area during the evening to dine at the curbside eatery.  Months passed by and we had yet to try it.

One glorious night I was on my run and I passed by a new food truck right off our street, just a few blocks down....it sure smelled good...oh - and wait!  What is that I see?  "El Ray Del Taco #2" graced the front of the truck in red, white and green lettering.

This was not just any Taco Truck, it was THE TACO TRUCK!

That same night I logged onto Astorians.com and quickly read about the "#2" truck opened by the family being parked right here on Ditmars.

Joe and I rejoiced.

Tonight we finally had the chance to dine at the lovely Taco Truck.

2 beef tacos.
1 cheese quesadilla.
1 chicken burrito.
1 chicken huarache.
and $21 later we were stuffed, with huge smiles on our faces.  I get it now - I understand the outrage and concern when the Taco Truck disappeared.  This is a gem!  Sooooooooooo good.  Like, I'm-gonna-crave-it-every-single-day good!

Directly after our meal Henry started to sing, "Taco Truck, Taco Truck!" while dancing around the house.  He and Joe were playing Legos and before I knew it...

They built a Taco Truck.

How many kids play Taco Truck?!?!


Oh, and I forgot to tell you...they deliver...via bike!


Basking in the Glow of the (not so) Creepy Clown - We are off to Disney World!

As you may or may not know we are owners of Disney Vacation Club (DVC), which is basically a timeshare on Disney property.  We really, really, REALLY like to vacation in Disney World (Florida).  Joe and I had our fist trip on our honeymoon in 2006.  We returned with Henry in tow in 2008 and bought into DVC.  In 2009 we went in January, September and December.  We recently returned, September 2-9 and stayed at the beautiful Boardwalk Villas. (and our next trip will be in March 2011 for 15 days!)

I really enjoy writing out the adventures of our vacations - I share them on an online Disney message board, and also they are wonderful to look back on and remember the memories.  I figured I would share it all here too!

So, this is a report of our trip, which I have entitled, "Basking the Glow of the (not so) Creepy Clown".

(for those of you who aren't in the Disney-know, the Boardwalk Villas has a giant clown at their pool and the water slide ends as you "vomit" out of his mouth.  His eyes glow at night.  He gets mixed reviews from the guests....LOL)


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Before I was married I used four alarm clocks.

One real alarm clock that I could set 2 alarms on. A radio with a clock. My cell phone.

I set them ALL each night before going to bed, the first one would ring 2 hours before I had to get up and then the others would ring in 20 minute intervals.

My roommate LOVED me.

(Don't worry, she really did - we were old friends and she knew about my inability to hear alarms/get up!  And Laurel if you are reading this, sorry.  I love you.)

These alarms would do their morning song every single day and yet I would never hear them, I'd sleep right through - sometimes even being LATE for work.

All that to say, my alarm was set at 6:00 for Disney Morning. But, I knew Joe would be the one waking me up.

Or would he?

My eyes flipped open. I was pretty sure the alarm had not rung because Joe was still sound asleep.

I laid there, refusing to look at the clock, knowing that if I did I wouldn't be able to sleep again because I'd just be thinking "3 hours to Disney, 2 hours to Disney, 1 hour to Disney." You get the picture.

Well, I couldn't sleep, so eventually I allowed myself a glimpse at the clock.

5:34 am.

WHAT?!?! I figured it would be like 3 am or something insane, not actually a reasonable time!


Seriously folks, this is news.

I crept about the house getting myself and breakfast ready. Joe heard me after about 10 minutes, laughed at his giddy wife, and started doing some airline research. New York City was in the path of Hurricane Earl, and he was supposed to hit just before Joe's plane was supposed to take off the next evening. (due to work, the plan was for him to join us in Florida on Friday evening)

I continued getting ready and was pretty well set by about 6:30 and Joe had switched his flight - with no fee! - to a flight that afternoon! I had a nice slow morning, sipping coffee, playing on my computer....it was an excellent way to start the trip.

Henry woke up at some point and we got him all ready to go. Our bags were set, it was time to go!!

Henry and I walked a few blocks to the bus, we only had to wait a few minutes when a VERY full bus pulled up.


Toddler + stroller + backpack + crowded bus, this could be a bunch of fun.

But, I took a deep breath and just tried to not worry...and Henry did AWESOME standing on the bus!!! I was so proud of him.

The bus ride to the airport is very short, maybe 15 minutes - but I was still relieved when after a few minutes someone noticed I was standing with a little one and gave me their seat. Thank you kind stranger!

We made it to the airport unscathed, went right through security where Henry was an all-star. He knows the drill!

I waited until the end to board, I personally do NOT like boarding first with a child because the least amount of time you have them on the plane, the better.

But, this time it backfired on me.

I boarded the plane and realized they had Henry sitting in an aisle seat, and me across the aisle from him. I confirmed with the man in the nice business suit that he in fact didn't want my child and no mother sitting next to him.

He didn't.

A flight attendant assisted me and we got situated pretty quickly, it all worked out but I felt bad for causing a ruckus at the last minute.

The flight went smoothly. I packed various things for Henry - some awesome Disney items sent along by another Disney friend, and some iPhone apps. He did get restless, but overall it was fine.

It was just after 1:00 and we were waiting for the fake monorail at Orlando's airport, we had made it!

We made a quick bathroom stop and then to the stop of all stops.


I have heard SO much about this restaurant and never realized there was one in MCO until recently...and I had to do it. I HAD to try Chick-Fil-A!

The original plan was to get nuggets, but I just wasn't feeling them, so I opted for the Original Sandwich with waffle fries.

Good. Really, really good. I get the obsession now! It's done just right. The bun just has butter on it, and there are pickles - so it's basic, and kinda like McDonald's Southern Style Sandwich...but so much better! The chicken is nice and juicy....delish. My mouth is watering thinking about it - we seriously need this in NYC!

We made our way down to the Magical Express (Disney's bus from the airport to their resorts), and I gotta say...I love the fact that I know this airport. I don't have much of a sense of direction and largely rely on Joe to point me the right way, but MCO, I've got it finally after all these trips!

Straight to the elevators, and straight to the Magical Express. I pulled out my little booklet from Disney with my travel info, and was ushered into an empty aisle where I figured I would have to wait - and entertain a 3 year old - for up to 20 minutes. 

But wait.  What is that? Do my eyes deceive me? Is that a Cast Member coming to the end of my aisle and opening the little rope gate, ushering me through with their giant Mickey hand to a waiting bus?

Why, yes, yes it is!


It was random, but while we were walking down that lovely aisle, Henry shouted out "Dance Mommy!" so we did.

We danced right through that open gate and out to the waiting bus!

I love that kind of mojo when I'm solo-parenting with a 3 year old!

Henry chose the 2nd row seat for us to sit in. We got settled and then I smelled IT.


I had just changed Henry before Chick-Fil-A, yet here IT was.

All the Cast Member's were right outside of our bus, so I try to be discrete about asking them if I had time to change a poopy diaper.

"Someone is in LABOR?!" a woman asks.

So I say it louder and they all laugh with relief.

I am motioned to a bench that is out of the sight of the buses and we were fresh in no time, back on the bus -- and it pulled away minutes later.

Very soon we were on our way and the lovely "Welcome to Disney World" video was showing - Henry was pretty much glued.

So was I. I've seen it, but I love it. It's just another one of those signs that you've made it and your vacation is beginning. Now the video on the way back...that's another story....

I did FINALLY manage to get this as well!  Six trips to Disney and I finally have a picture of the welcome gates!


Our bus stopped at another resort first and then to the Boardwalk.

When I entered the lobby I got even more excited. We were here, this was real!! There was a small line to check-in, so we waited a few moments when the Conceriage Desk called me over. I had done online check-in so I had everything in my hands within just moments.

Then they handed over Henry's Birthday button and everyone at the desk leaned over to look in his stroller and shout out a "Happy Birthday Henry!" he glowed with excitement. As we walked away from the desk they continued their "Happy Birthday Henry" cheers and he was eating it up! It was a very sweet moment.

Okay, so smooth flight, Chick-Fil-A, straight to the bus without waiting, pretty much zero wait to check-in...is our room ready?



I had put in no room requests. Not-a-one. Complete gamble.

Room #5059 was it. I knew the Boardwalk Resort had some very long hallways....and I was very happy to see our door was just steps from the elevator - we were about the 6th door down. Excellent location.

I stepped into the room and smiled. Pictures don't do these rooms justice - they are really very, very nice.

He was thrilled about the Mickey on our bed! And immediately asked to jump on the bed, it's his favorite thing to do at Mickey's House and he KNOWS he can!

One happy little boy!

He continued to jump and run around while I took pictures.

Light near the doorway

Little entryway with shelf and perfectly fits a stroller. Loved that. Also would be a great place for shoes.

Much larger than I expected!

This bench is across from the bed - we only ever used it as a place to put all the decorative pillows and some other random stuff throughout the week.

Bed with child rolling around!

Standing in the far corner near the table and chairs

Standing in the other corner, near the couch

Then I looked out to see what kind of view we would have.


I literally got tears in my eyes! It had been such a smooth travel day - a million things could have gone wrong, but everything went very, very right. And here we were, in Disney World. 

Looking right

Looking all the way left

View from the couch

Mickey heads on the chest of drawers

After a short while I suggested to Henry that we go exploring.

He had ZERO interest. He just wanted to jump on that bed!

So I let him.

Video - Henry jumping (18 seconds)

We laughed and tumbled around together for a bit longer until I finally did convince him that we should go explore, I knew once we got out of the room, he would love it.

But, where should we go? What should we do? Joe's new flight didn't land until later that evening, so we had a few hours...


You Know You've Arrived When...

Yesterday I was riding the train home (the N/Q train, not the pictured 7 train, though this is very close to the location where this happened) and the car I was in was pretty packed.  As I peeled my face off the guy's shoulder in front of me, I looked towards the other end of the car and noticed there was TONS of room down there.  I thought, "why is nobody pushing that way?" so a few stops later I managed to get enough room to wiggle my self down towards the open space, the whole way thinking "what's the deal with these people? Do they like each other a lot or something?" until... the wall of invisible rotting-corpse death stench cloud hit my nose and I immediately knew what everything was all about.  Down at the end of the car was sitting a man who didn't look too bad but must have made his coat from small animals and forgot to skin them properly.  Wow, ok, so yeah, no shower but I mean come on! At least you could air out a bit during the day or run under one of they many fountains in the city.  Nobody in any state of poverty should smell that bad, seriously bad!  Hello New York City!  Don't you just love it?


Where'd August Go?

Disney's Beach Club Resort
OK, so over a month has gone by and we haven't posted an update here, sorry.  So we've been in the city long enough now that we decided to take a break and zoom down to our favorite little place in Orlando to celebrate Henry turning 3!  I still can't believe he's 3 already, growing up too fast!  The summer here in NY has been so HOT and it has finally cooled down to where it's more enjoyable to go out and now I can see a more of a reason for people wearing things like scarves (yes we saw people bundled up when it hit like 79 degrees) - wimps!  That doesn't explain why we went to Florida (leaving hot for even hotter and even more humid) but we still had a great time.

We are finally getting a bit settled in our new church home (Morning Star New York) and getting to meet new people and make some connections.  We are both excited to get involved in some of their small groups.  Church services have been great - challenging us in many ways - a good thing.

Henry is making new friends and enjoying the park time he gets.  Hopefully we'll be able to keep him busy in the winter when it's not so nice outside.  I think he'll be good since he is always asking for us to come in his room and play. I think he could play all day in there if we were to stay in there that long.

Brook is enjoying all the amenities of the neighborhood and city and having to look at the city differently than before - as a stay-at-home mom instead of a single city explorer as in yesteryear.  She has recently joined a moms group that plans events for stay-at-home moms in the city.  There are lots of fun things on her calendar that I find myself wishing I could attend!

I still enjoy my new job - it's challenging and so different than what I'm used to.  Having been previously employed by the same company for nearly 12 years kind of gets you stuck in a rut.  This has been a very liberating experience in that respect.  Most people complain about their commute to work, but I love it because I don't have to rely on someone else to get me there.  I also get to see interesting and sometimes freaky people nearly every day - it's fun.

Anyhow, enough for now, I'm sure Brook will be posting something soon too.  We have lots of travel plans for later this year - St. Lucia and back to MN for Thanksgiving.

Keep in touch!


If you think New Yorkers aren't kind - read this!!

Today I took a couple of friends to the airport so they wouldn't get lost.  It's easy from my apartment, but when you aren't familiar with the bus routes, it can be intimidating.  From my house you walk a few blocks and get on the M60 bus which goes directly to the airport.  It's very close, maybe a 15 minute ride.

We had no issues on the way there, thankfully.

After I saw them off, Henry and I wheeled back out to the bus stop.  I quickly saw my bus come and boarded it.  Everything was going fine, it was almost empty so we got a seat right away...life was good.

Then the bus didn't turn down Astoria Blvd. where it normally does....and it started to go into a different neighborhood - and that's when it dawned on me...we were on the wrong bus!  I read the sign wrong!

Thankfully I was sorta familiar with this bus as well, since I used to ride it occasionally when I previously lived in Woodside, Queens.  Henry was getting very antsy, as a 2 year old does at nap time, and we were at a stop near the 7 train, so I opted for us to get off and we'd simply take the 7 to the N train, which is the train we take home.  Pretty annoying, but doable.

We attempt to get off the bus...I have the stroller in one hand, a half eaten donut and an empty coffee cup in another, and a 2 year old asking me "Why?" every 8 seconds.  We scurry down the bus to exit in the rear door and Henry just stops at the step.  The doors start to close on us, but someone from behind reaches to push open the door for us, and a person waiting outside assists Henry down while I struggle with not wacking someone in the head with the stroller

On the sidewalk I put the 35 pound child inside the stroller and haul it up the stairs to the elevated train platform.  I pull out my Metrocard and go through the gate only to find that the 7 train that goes in the direction I need, toward Manhattan, is CLOSED.



So, I have to ride the train in the wrong direction and get off at a stop that Manhattan bound train is stopping at, so I can transfer to it.  Up the stairs with the stroller.

The train comes quickly.  It's packed.  I wheel on anyway and a very nice man offers me a seat.  I then ask him if he knows which stop has the Manhattan bound trains stopping at it, he said the next one should be fine.  So we pile off and he assists me down the stairs with the stroller.  Very, very nice.

However, he was wrong...the Manhattan bound side at this stop was also closed.

Two men in the station noticed my distress and said the NEXT stop I could transfer to a Manhattan bound train.  Soooooooooo....back up the stairs!

Another train comes quickly, equally as packed.  We ride to the next stop and are able to transfer to a waiting Manhattan bound train that is simply across the platform.  I give my thanks to the Lord quite loudly when I see the train waiting!

It's also packed, but we squeeze on.  We are finally headed in the right direction!

Henry is sleeping by this time and we eventually get a seat and I can relax for a bit as we make the stops to where I have to transfer.

At the stop, I haul the stroller up another set of stairs to the top platform and the N train comes very quickly.

We are finally almost home, at our stop I haul the stroller down the first set of stairs and a man holds the gate open for me and the stroller.  Then at the next set of stairs a very kind man, who had just came up all the stairs, stopped and insisted on taking the stroller down for me.  Not just helping me, but taking the whole thing himself.  "I have two kids!  I know how it is!" he said.  I thanked him 100 times over.

So the moral of the story is, make sure you board the right bus!  Otherwise your 15 minute ride turns into a 2 hour adventure.  But if you by chance do make the mistake, there will be plenty of New Yorkers to make your crazy ride back a tad more bearable.


Mom in NYC

Mom came to visit last week and we had a GREAT week!  It was the hottest week we've had all summer, hitting 100 degrees two days in a row, but despite almost melting, it was wonderful to spend time with her.  It was the most time we have spent together consecutively since before I was married.

Henry also had a fun time with his Grandma Dar.  For several days after he woke up he would instantly ask where she was.  It was very sweet.

Here are a few highlights:

Mom's raspberry iced tea from Martha's Country Bakery around the corner from our house, she raved about this all week!  Joe and I have to get over there and try it soon.

Walking through Times Square Henry spotted the big sign for the upcoming Disney store.  I had just pushed his "wings" button, and he was saying, "To infinity and beyond!"

Mom treated us all to a ride on the Toys R Us ferris wheel.  We ended up getting the gondola that Henry really, really, really wanted - the firetruck!

Mom on Times Square

The next day we strolled through Central Park and came across the carousel

 Sheep Meadow, Central Park.

The future home of Joe and Brook Wozniak. ;-)

Empire State Building lobby.

Hanging out at home, Mom played "train" with Henry - he loved it!

New York has some very, very good eats, we just had to go get some cannolis from one of the zillion bakeries that sound our house!  They were delicious.

Going to see the "big boats" at the South Street Seaport.

This is one of many, many boats you can purchase a cruise on.  It happened to be docked at the Seaport while we were there.

Beautiful view, beautiful lady!

Battery Park

We did a Statue Cruise, its about an hour long, takes you through the harbor, you get nice views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and get really pretty close to the Statue of Liberty.  We all really enjoyed it!

Back on shore after the cruise...little boy, big buildings!

While we were down there we took the time to walk over and see this.  This piece was in the courtyard at the World Trade Center.  After 9/11 it was pulled from the rubble and placed in Battery Park, the flame in front is an eternal flame.  I've seen this dozens of times, and it never fails to bring me to tears, I wasn't alone in my crying though - I am my Mother's daughter, she was in tears as well!

One afternoon we took Henry to the park near our house and had a good time watching him play.  Here is he "selling ice cream", its a regular game we play.

Mom met Nicolas Cage...in the window of the wax museum!

We went to see Mary Poppins, which was EXCELLENT!  Joe wants to see it, so he and I are going to plan a date night sometime!

If you'd like to see the whole album of pictures, click HERE (Facebook).